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Intel announce Cougar Point B3 shipments

Intel have  issued a Product Change Notification today which suggests that the fixed B3 revision will start to ship from the 14th of February.

This news will be a welcome relief for Intel’s OEM partners who have had to take drastic action to deal with the faulty motherboard shipments. Demand for Cougar Point has been so high that Intel has taken a chance by continuing to ship the faulty B2 revision, which is never seen as a positive move by analysts and a portion of the customer base. To be fair, they have ensured that manufacturers include their own SATA Controller to bypass the sata port problem.

Many partners have been waiting for an official announcement, especially to service the existing user base who adopted the platform early and returned their faulty boards to base.

Intel have issued this announcement to their OEM partners, saying that B3 revision will be shipping from 14th of February.

All H67 and P67 boards have two sets of SATA ports. Four of these support 3 Gbps operation and two support the faster 6Gbps speeds. Each of these sets requires its own PLL source. This problem in the chipset has been traced back to a transistor in the 3Gbps PLL clocking tree. This transistor has a very thin gate oxide which allows you to turn it on with a very low voltage. The mistake that Intel made was biasing the transistor with too high of a voltage which caused a higher than expected leakage current. Each transistor will operate slightly differently, so over time the leakage current can cause a failure on the 3Gbps ports. Luckily the fact that the 3Gbps and 6Gbps circuits have their own independent clocking trees helps ensure that the problem will be only limited to ports 2-5 of the controller.

They have made some minor metal layer changes designed to fix the SATA issue. This new revision also includes a new minor BIOS upgrade to version 1.1.4.

Intel will be paying a high price, not just financially ($1 billion), but their name has taken a battering publically for such a high profile hardware issue. The Cougar Point B3 revision will be used on all upcoming products based around the H61, H67, Q67, P67, Q65, QM67, HM67, HM65, B65, UM67, QS67, Z68, C206, C204, and C202 platforms.

KitGuru says: Some positive news for the early adopters, and for Intel’s OEM partners who have been losing sales.

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